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ALEXANDER  YO1ST  HTJMBOLDT.                  21 &
and, pleased with the fortnnate result of this ascent,
the idea of spending the night in the saddle valley
was given up. Having found the path they had
hewn at the ascent, they soon descended into the
palrn forest of PejoaL The night., which quickly suc-
ceeded the short twilight, overtook Humboldt and
Bonpland botanizing; the moon, sometimes obscured
by clouds, shone in the sky ; the guides who carried
the instruments, went away, one by one, to seek a
sleeping place between the rocks, and Humboldt and
Bonpland, overwhelmed with weariness and thirst,
arrived at ten o'clock in the lower valley, by a
wearisome path. After a descent of six hours, the
company again arrived at the farm at the foot of the
mountain. They had been watched on the summit
by telescopes in the town.
The marshes and standing "waters near Calabozo
are filled with electric eels. Humboldt and Bonpland
wished to make experiments in their own house with
these animals, but for three days they could meet with
no specimen, on account of the exaggerated fears of
the people for the electric effects of these animals.
Tired of waiting, and as the eel which was at last
brought to them offered no satisfactory results to their
experiments, Humboldt detesmined to go himself to
this dreaded, and dangerous capture. The Indians
thereupon took him and Bonpland to a large reservoir
of slimy water, surrounded by odorous plants, near the
village of Bastro de Abazo ; but it was difficult to
catch the electric eels with common fishing nets, as
they bury themselves with great agility in the slima
They did not wish to make use of the Barbasco root,
which, thrown into the water, would have stupified all
the fish in it.
The Indians now declared they would fist with,
horses, and not until the guides had caught a quantity
of wild horses and mules, and forced them, to enter